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Tony Grist

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Invisible [Sep. 29th, 2005|10:26 am]
Tony Grist
I have one great skill for dealing with the world-out-there.

I can make myself invisible.

I perfected it at school. Mine was what is laughably called a public (meaning private) school and its purpose was to turn boy children into parsons and/or major-generals. Everyone was expected to join a quasi-military outfit and march up and down in brightly shining, heavy boots on a Wednesday afternoon. There was the one get-out- you could opt instead for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme. The DEAS regime was hearty enough- you had to read maps and go for long, manly hikes and camp out on foggy hillsides- but at least they didn't put you in a uniform.

I was so determinedly useless that the DEAS threw me out after a year. The final straw for them was when I and a group of my mates took a long and manly hike across some guy's private land and he effected a citizen's arrest and caused the school embarrassment. Thereafter I became invisible. While everybody else was shouldering arms and stamping their feet whenever a French master (pretending to be a sergeant major) told them they had to I was free to slope off down to the artroom and look at pictures of naked women.

I pulled the same stunt with organised sport. I was so determinedly useless at football and cricket that after a term or two the captains of sport stopped bothering to pick me for their teams and I was free to slope off down to the art room etc...etc.

You keep your head down, you pull your aura in and everybody else is so busy dreaming of goals or worrying about the polish on their boots that they just don't notice you're there (or not there, as the case may be.)

The problem with being invisible is that you never become rich or famous. The benefits are incalculable.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: slatts
2005-09-29 05:39 am (UTC)
....not rich or famous but "slopin' off (love that term) to the art room" sounds like a blast!

I wasn't as lucky... I too was useless in sports. I took my art skills to a level of decent forgery and would write passes out of these lousy classes to... the art room!

The art teacher whom I forged his signature was "OK" with my dirty deed until I started getting passes out of English and Math and U.S.History and...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 05:44 am (UTC)
That's wonderful.

Art teachers usually represent a rallying point for disaffection and rebellion in a school. But I guess there are limits.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-09-30 03:57 pm (UTC)
My mother taught art in junior and high school, and the students loved her, but she did complain to us in the family more than once about their hooting and whistling when she showed lovely nudes during the art history segment.

Venus on the half-shell was the most popular.
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[User Picture]From: forestdweller
2005-09-29 05:53 am (UTC)
I learned to do the very same thing in high school. It still works on city streets.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 06:23 am (UTC)
I'm so used to being the invisible watcher that it shocks me when someone notices me and tries to draw me into things.
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2005-09-29 05:55 am (UTC)

I knew there was a reason I liked you so...

My other favorite "character" has this same talent. "Blackie Ryan" is the champion of invisible. Have you read any Greeley?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 06:24 am (UTC)

Re: I knew there was a reason I liked you so...

No, I haven't read Greeley. Tell me more.....
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2005-09-29 08:02 am (UTC)

Re: I knew there was a reason I liked you so...

I’ve just spent the better part of my morning wrestling with your inquiry re Greeley. It’s difficult for me to decide where to start. After much consideration I begin here.

The Bishop in the West Wing (Blackie Ryan)
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0812575989/ref=cm_bg_d_12/102-2619176-8080100?v=glance

Blackie Ryan List
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/listmania/list-browse/-/F53J355YIMS0/ref=cm_lm_detail_ctr_full_2/102-2619176-8080100

Greeley is in no way to be considered a great writer. You needn’t take my word for this. He has many, many critics. What I find captivating and irresistible is his perspective. He’s a Chicago Irish priest about our age. His youth was similar to mine and his personality reflects this. He speaks an ethnic language that I grew up with and am very comfortable with.

He has created this one protagonist, Father Blackie Ryan and quite honestly I have a huge crush on this adorable, priest, detective whose greatest talent is to be invisible. The West Wing is not my all time favorite but it is, I think, the one to start with to get the best glimpse of how being nondescript can work for you in solving a mystery.

This may not be great writing, but this is one great guy, Blackie Ryan is. He’s everything a woman could ever want in a man… and the one she cannot have.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 08:23 am (UTC)

Re: I knew there was a reason I liked you so...

Now these sound like huge fun.

Priests, poltergeists and presidents- that's an irresistible mix. I think I'm going to get better aquainted with bishop Ryan.

I've always been a huge fan of that other nondescript, priest detective- Chesterton's Father Brown
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-09-29 06:12 am (UTC)
I am heartily glad you are not invisible here.

It's so funny to think about your sneaking off to the art room to look at pictures of naked women!

I'm sure you were envied by boys less clever than you at shrinking their auras.

In junior high school I was so terrified of tumbling that I rarely took my turn. All the other girls were so eager to hurl themselves at the mat that I simply let them in ahead of me in line, over and over and over, until I managed to pretty much not tumble at all!

I hated softball so much that mostly I volunteered to be scorekeeper, and the scorekeeper got to sit in a tire swing attached to a low branch of a cottonwood tree. Bliss.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 06:40 am (UTC)
Ah, but the less clever boys didn't notice me at all.

But there was a down side. I hated it that Jeremy Sinden- who had an aura the size of Brighton- got all the lead roles in all the school plays even though I was a much better actor than him (IMHO).

I did a bit of score-keeping, but since it involved paying attention and adding up figures I didn't covet the job.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-09-30 03:59 pm (UTC)
I did a bit of score-keeping, but since it involved paying attention and adding up figures I didn't covet the job.


Being a mere fourth-grader, I never bothered with real scores. I just made them up! Nobody cared, and nobody knew.

Possibly the teacher did. She loathed me. Why, I will never know. Perhaps it was projection on my part.



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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-10-01 02:00 am (UTC)
Dear me, you really were subversive.....
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[User Picture]From: zephyrcrow
2005-09-29 07:29 am (UTC)
I was the opposite in high school; after being invisible for a long time, I cut all of my hair off and dyed it bright green, and became a real Alpha Bitch.

Turns out not all attention is good attention. Scrutiny sucks. My hair is a regular color now and I have a full-time job - a pretty straight life in general, actually.

Your post is cute. I like when people write about being kids.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 08:27 am (UTC)
I went through a brief phase of wearing controversial (long, bushy) hair back in the early 70s, but I've never been comfortable with standing out.

I like to observe- and you can't observe when you're the centre of attention.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2005-09-29 11:01 am (UTC)
in elementary school i became quite good at faking being sick... just sick enough that i couldn't go to school, but not sick enough that my mom couldnt bring me to work with her. she worked at a library. i'd mend some of the books that none of the staff members cared to mend, then slink off upstairs and read by the fireplace for the rest of the day.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-09-29 12:14 pm (UTC)
And I suspect you learned more reading in the library than you would have done in school.
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